Xcel Energy announced plans Monday to shutter its last two Midwestern coal plants a decade earlier than scheduled.
The plan, which is subject to approval by Minnesota regulators, calls for major additions of wind and solar generation along with natural gas and the Monticello, Minnesota, nuclear plant.
Xcel said it will close the 511-megawatt Allen S. King station in Washington County, Minnesota, by 2028 followed by the 939-megawatt Sherco 3 generator by 2030. Two other units at the Sherco plant in Sherburne County, Minnesota, were previously scheduled to close by 2024.
The replacement portfolio includes more than 3,000 megawatts of new solar generation across the company’s Midwestern footprint, which includes Minnesota along with western Wisconsin and parts of the Dakotas .
Xcel says by 2030 more than half the energy it provides to customers in the Midwest will come from renewable sources and will result in an 80% reduction in carbon emissions compared to 2005, which it calls a “key stepping stone” to providing carbon-free electricity by mid-century.
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The company said the plan, which is expected to be submitted to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission by July 1, ensures reliable and low-cost service for customers.
Xcel said it worked with a coalition of environmental and labor groups on the agreement, which includes the purchase of the Mankato Energy Center natural gas plant from Southern Power Co.
Spokesman Randy Fordice said the plan includes construction of a previously announced 786-megawatt natural gas plant in Sherburne County.
The agreement also calls for the Monticello nuclear plant to continue operation through at least 2040. The plant’s current license expires in 2030.
Xcel also operates two nuclear reactors at Prairie Island, which are licensed through 2033 and 2034. Fordice said those plants would be addressed in future resource plans.
Headquartered in Minnesota, Xcel serves about 250,000 customers in Wisconsin. It was the first large investor-owned utility to promise carbon-free electricity by 2050.
Last week, Madison Gas & Electric announced a similar goal of net-zero carbon electricity by the same deadline.